accessAtlanta

City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Q100’s Bert’s Big Adventure sends kids to Walt Disney World for 9th year

Bert Weiss with Melissa Carter on Feb. 17, 2011 at the Bert's Big Adventure kickoff at Sheraton Gateway Hotel. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Bert Weiss with Melissa Carter on Feb. 17, 2011 at the Bert's Big Adventure kickoff at Sheraton Gateway Hotel. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

For much of the year, Bert Weiss tackles the world of Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and ridiculous relationship problems.

But for a few days each year, the Q100 team flies to Walt Disney World with a dozen families with kids who have terminal or chronic illnesses. Most of these are families who can’t afford to take vacations, often sucked dry by medical bills and stress.

Bert’s Big Adventure, now in its ninth year, gives those families a break from reality. The parents don’t have to plan anything. They pay for nothing. They were picked up by limo to the Sheraton Gateway Hotel by the airport for a send-off party this morning. As I write this, they are already in Orlando, having been flown on a free donated Atlantic Southeast Airlines charter flight. They will get VIP treatment at Disney, meet the Disney characters, partake in the parades, the foods, the sights and the sounds over four days.

Bert and his wife Stacey spend the year seeking donations to make this happen. Stacey runs the foundation and organizes three reunion events  per year as well for the now 98 families who have been part of Bert’s Big Adventure over the years. Amazingly, some of the kids from the early years are now in high school. “I always remember them from when they were on the trip,” Bert said. “Then they grow up four years later. Wow!”

“At least they’ve grown up!” he added, joking about his own relative stature.

The parents I interviewed were naturally grateful for the break. Samantha Moore, whose daughter Madison has a breathing problem that requires a tube in her throat all the time, was given a 32  GB memory card by a friend to capture the trip. “That’s like 9,999 pictures,” she said. “I’ve already taken 140!” And the family hadn’t even left Atlanta yet.

“I’m going to relax and enjoy the ride,” said Ryan Lloyd, of Loganville, whose six-year-old daughter Abigail can’t eat solid foods because of a white-cell problem.

Lisa Chambers, an x-ray technician of Villa Rica, has a 10-year-old son Kyle whose entire right side of his face was missing an ear and functionality. He’s had multiple surgeries to repair his face. Bert surprised Kyle by having his Falcons hero Roddy White show up and meet him. He’ll also get to go to a Falcons game and go on the field. “Will I get to sit on the bench?” he asked. “I don’t think so,” his mom said, with a laugh.

Here are some photos from the event:

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White surprises a fan of his, Kyle Chambers.

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White surprises a fan of his, Kyle Chambers.

Ryan Lloyd with his daughter Abigail moments before leaving for Disneyland.

Ryan Lloyd with his daughter Abigail moments before leaving for Walt Disney World.

Captain Jack Sparrow plays with Madison (left) and Blayke Bowman at the send-off party.

Captain Jack Sparrow plays with Madison (left) and Blayke Bowman at the send-off party.

12 comments Add your comment

this is awesome......

February 17th, 2011
5:58 pm

What an awesome thing they are doing! God bless them all!

Mickey Mouse

February 17th, 2011
6:46 pm

Rodney, it’s actually Disney World, NOT Disneyland!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Atlanta Rio , Rodney Ho. Rodney Ho said: Q100’s Bert’s Big Adventure sends kids to Disney for 9th year http://bit.ly/dYsivZ [...]

Rodney Ho

February 17th, 2011
9:33 pm

Thanks! I always get those two mixed up!

Kennesaw Dave

February 18th, 2011
10:00 am

Great pics Rodney. This was a good way to start off my day today. I’m so glad and thankful that there are people like Bert out there that have such a big heart and take the time and energy to try and make things a little easier for these families.

yamama

February 18th, 2011
10:34 am

What Burt and his crew do for these kids is nothing short of amazing. People can be so giving and it shows in an event like this. I hope they keep this going for a long time because I know it makes a lot of kids who otherwise have a tough time very happy.

Pdentgrou

February 18th, 2011
2:29 pm

This is always a touching story, and am glad to know that they still keep in contact with the families from past trips. That is the really special part.

But I have to ask, where did Bert get those big fake teeth in the first picture?

Big D

February 18th, 2011
4:25 pm

Hopefully Wendy and Jenn get left in Florida.

Little d

February 18th, 2011
10:24 pm

Big D…bawawawwawawwwawaa!!!! (me too!)

aubrey wells thompson

February 20th, 2011
12:28 pm

i think this is an amazing thing you all do and am so happy for my niece and nephew abigail and alex that they can partake in this.

falcon since 78

February 22nd, 2011
9:55 am

great story, but remember, Ho also has a negative tone when it comes to the Falcons. Hell, they all do. In fact if that mutt in Athens dies 20 minutes after the Falcons win the Super Bowl, guess who gets top story?

amazed

February 23rd, 2011
10:33 am

I wonder if Bert would do this if he didn’t get have his name on it. Narcissist midget!